The mayor of Niagara Falls, Jim Diodati, takes the flak again for not having worn a mask during an event in his city.
A photo circulates on Diodati’s social networks celebrating the inauguration on Saturday of Sticks & Bricks Realty Ltd. on Thorold Stone Road, where he is seen holding a bottle of champagne and laughing with the other participants.
Some people on social media have criticized the mayor for not wearing a mask in the photo.
Diodati was also criticized in May when a short video during a religious celebration showed that he was not wearing a mask or physically distancing himself.
Diodati said much like at the May meeting, some of the participants in the Saturday event wore masks and people were also physically distancing themselves.
He said there were no microphones at the event on Saturday, so people who were speaking could not wear masks and be heard.
“People were trying to spread as best they could,” Diodati said.
“It is not too difficult to catch someone, with the right angle, at the right time, being too close. The bottom line is that it was an outside event. It was a hot day and everyone was trying to get in the shade. “
He said the speeches lasted only “a few minutes”.
“You have to take off your mask, or you can’t be heard. “
Diodati said that the participants were “aware” and “respectful of each other’s space”.
He said it is frustrating for some people to want to use the pandemic to target other people by posting and criticizing photos on social media.
“The last thing we want to do is pit one neighbor against another and get people to wave their fingers at each other’s faces.”
Diodati said he had a mask at the event on Saturday and is still wearing one in each pocket.
“In my car, I have two different Ziploc bags filled with masks. I am of the surgical type, peace of mind and I have another fun and decorative type. As a rule, I only put it on if I can’t distance myself physically. If I feel that people are getting too close, I put it on. “
Jim O’Neill, the licensed broker at Sticks & Bricks Realty Ltd., said that Diodati had removed his mask so that the crowd would gather – and be physically far behind – before the company could hear him.
“Not everyone wore masks, but we were going away socially,” he said.
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“The mayor only took off his mask to speak to the distant group safely who came out because we had no microphone and we were 15 feet from Thorold Stone Road. If you know Thorold Stone Road, it’s pretty busy (with traffic). “
O’Neill said he was disappointed that critics of Diodati were trying to use the photo to score political points at his expense instead of focusing on the fact that a business opened in the middle of a pandemic.
“We called the city forward. We made sure to do everything according to the book. I’m not Jim Diodati’s best friend, (but) he came out and did an incredible job, “he said, adding that Niagara Falls MP Wayne Gates also attended the event. .